I always look forward to returning each January to the wonderful city of Bilbao, Spain, to run Model Arctic Council Bilbao (MAC Bilbao) at Colegio Ayalde—now in its fifth year. Always my most ‘international’ conference, MAC Bilbao 5 took place last weekend, and it involved 28 secondary-school pupils from ten schools in France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. They tackled two up-to-the-minute and challenging issues facing the Arctic today—climate engineering, and the future of Arctic cooperation in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After three days of sometimes very difficult discussions, they managed to agree joint political declarations on both issues—congratulations to them!
A full wrap-up note will follow in due course. For now, I’ll close with one very special testimonial from a participating pupil:
I learned the real meaning behind diplomacy. I learned new mannerisms of speaking and expressing myself. I learned how to be more confident when speaking out loud. I learned how to collaborate and communicate. I improved patience and overall, loved the learning process.
That’s the best part of running my MAC programmes—changing the way pupils think, not just about the Arctic, but about themselves and their capacity to communicate and reach agreement, all through a thoroughly enjoyable educational experience.